Reverse Discrimination Against Young White Employees

By Leeds Brown Law | April 12, 2017

Allegations of Reverse Discrimination

Five former employees of Revolt TV, a music channel owned by Sean “Diddy” Combs, have filed a lawsuit claiming the channel discriminated against them for being young and white. The producers, all over the age of 39 and Caucasian, worked on the television version of the urban talk-radio show on Power 105.1 called “the Breakfast Club.”

The production team, led by Doug Goodstein, had significant experience doing similar work on the Howard Stern Show. However, according to the Daily News, the producers claim they were “ostracized and mocked by execs… because they didn’t get ‘the culture.’” In their complaint filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, the producers allege that Revolt treated them “worse than other employees who were younger and African-American.”

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that in December 2014, after one season, the company fired the team of producers (even though, according to the complaint, they performed their jobs successfully), and replaced them with younger, less experienced, African-American employees.

Title VII Prohibits Employment Discrimination

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is unlawful to discriminate against an employee because of sex, race, color, national origin, or religion. Congress passed Title VII to prevent discrimination in the workplace and to ensure that everyone receives equal treatment. Although the law applies to many groups of people, it came on the heels of the civil rights movement. It was created in large part, to rectify historical discrimination against women and African Americans trying to obtain employment and seek career advancement.

It is not often a case of reverse discrimination comes along. Reverse discrimination is the term used to describe the illegal treatment of the group of people who usually don’t need protection. Caucasian males are not usually considered a group in need of protection from employment discrimination.

However, the laws apply to anyone who experiences discrimination based on one of the protected characteristics. This means that it does not matter what sex you are or what race or religion. Employment discrimination based on one of those factors is unlawful. Victims of such discriminatory actions may have the right to recover monetary damages, along with other available remedies.

What is Employment Discrimination?

When an employer makes an adverse employment decision based on a protected characteristic, it is unlawful. Employment decisions include those related to:

  • Applying
  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Determining pay and earnings
  • Assigning work and/or shifts
  • Demoting
  • Promoting

It is not always obvious when an employer makes a discriminatory decision. Often, an employer cites “other reasons” for the action that are not discriminatory.

Specific Allegations of Reverse Racial Discrimination

The producers from Revolt TV include some of the following allegations of discrimination:

  • Executive President Val Boreland, an African-American, “was always rude, condescending and dismissive towards the team…Ms. Boreland, however, treated the African-American staff in a much friendlier and respectful manner.”
  • When African-American employees showed up at work intoxicated or hungover, executives “turned a blind eye.”
  • A particular African-American employee often came to work late and intoxicated and slept on the floor in the office during work hours yet “suffered no repercussions.”
  • When one of the producers complained about the pattern of tardiness shown by many of the show’s guests, the production manager told him that he just didn’t understand the “culture” of the show’s guests and on-air personalities.
  • The producers felt uncomfortable when they heard conversations by the show’s assistant producers and guests of the Breakfast Club about the differences between African-Americans and Caucasians.

In response to the complaint, Revolt TV has simply stated that the producers’ claims are without merit and were previously dismissed by an administrative agency, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The company claims that it “has always been committed to diversity in the workplace and is an equal opportunity employer.”

Contact Us

The producers are seeking an unspecified amount of damages from Revolt, but it remains to see how this matter gets resolved. It does remind everyone, however, that discrimination can occur in ways that are unexpected or uncommon.

If you have experienced employment discrimination based on race, sex, disability or another category protected by federal, state or city law, contact Leeds Brown Law, P.C. for a free case evaluation. You can reach a New York workplace discrimination lawyer 24/7 at 1-800-585-4658.



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